Monday, October 19, 2015

Remembering Mary K. Armstrong

Mary K. Armstrong ca. 1930
The month of October helps us remember those who have gone before us. The entire month seems packed with celebrations, observances, and opportunities to think about our own history. For instance, National Hispanic Heritage month (Sept 15 – Oct 15) is celebrated nationally, Texas Baptists celebrate Baptist History and Heritage Month, and here on campus, we celebrate ETBU Homecoming. When we begin to look back on the history of the library at College of Marshall and East Texas Baptist College, one cannot escape the contributions of Mrs. Mary Louise Ketcham Armstrong who served as librarian here from 1930-1955. So what are we doing? We’re throwing her a 128th birthday party, of course!

This all started when I read a post from a blog I follow – Library Design Share – that discussed the MD Anderson Library’s post humus birthday party for MD Anderson himself. The library used it as an opportunity to celebrate their founder, share their history, and eat a little birthday cake. My thoughts quickly went to Mrs. Armstrong and I was off to find out about when we could celebrate her birthday. 

A few Google searches and fellow librarian consultations later and I had the date – October 24, 1887. Eureka! The weekend of October 24 is the same weekend as our ETBU Homecoming celebration. We simply must throw a party to celebrate this librarian who made so many contributions to our institution.

As librarians will do, I began digging through our ETBU archives, local history resources, and genealogical databases to see what I could learn about Mrs. Armstrong. Within a few days, I had pieces of her story strung together across my monitor and my desk. We’ll be using this information this week to complete the display of Mary K. Armstrong’s life that will be featured in the library during her birthday party on Friday, October 23rd @ 3pm. 

Here are a few previews of what I was able to find using the resources that are available to me right here on campus: 
  •  Mary Louise Ketcham was born to Christopher Brower Ketcham and Emma Louise Menger Ketcham in Marshall, Texas on October 24, 1887. 
  •  In 1900, the Ketcham family resided in a house at 406 E Houston Street. The house is no longer standing, but the Panola-Harrison County Electric Cooperative building takes up most of the block where the home originally sat. 
  •  By 1910 the family had relocated to what would be their permanent family residence – 107 Rainey Street. 
  •  Mary Ketcham married Frank Armstrong on June 13, 1911. The couple moved into her family home on Rainey Street and remained there through at least the 1940s.
  • Mary K. Armstrong joined the staff at COM in July, 1930 as the Publicity Director. By September, 1930 she had taken on the role of Librarian. 
  •  She eventually earned her Masters of Science in Education and received an honorary doctorate from ETBC in the 1950s. 
  •  Mrs. Armstrong retired at the age of 67 in June of 1955 after completing 25 years of service in various capacities including publicity director, librarian, English instructor, and as a Professor of Education. 
  •  Mary Louise Ketcham Armstrong passed away on January 1, 1980 at the age of 92 following a lengthy illness.
Mary K. Armstrong ca. 1955
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! We’ve learned so much about this great lady and her contributions by searching our university archives and using our online access to family history resources. 

Interested in learning the rest of the story? Curious about how you can use our resources to research a person from your own history? Join us on Friday, October 23, 2015 from 3pm-4pm in the library as we celebrate Mrs. Armstrong with history and birthday cake!

- Elizabeth Ponder, Manager of Instruction & Information Services

Friday, September 25, 2015

Just What Do You DO in the Library?

I remember the first time I walked into a real, honest-to-goodness library.  My elementary schools at
that time really only had small rooms (basically closets) with books that our teachers could check out for us - and one room that was a little bit bigger that had someone sitting at a school desk where we could sign the check-out cards with our name and room number.  But I can still picture the scene in front of me when I walked into that public library for the first time.

I was seven or eight.  We had just moved to a new state, and for the first time had access to a really good public library system.  We walked through those doors and I was absolutely in heaven.  The shelves full of colorful books and people browsing through them.  The activity at the circulation desk.  But it was the smell that was vivid to me - partly the mustiness of some of the books - but also the glue that held the card pockets in the books and the clear cellophane-like dust jacket protectors.  I thought anyone who worked in a library was a librarian and didn't realize that a lot of the people I saw behind the counter were not actual librarians, but library support staff.

All this got my imagination going - when we would play at home my sisters wanted to "play school" but I wanted to "play library" and so we would take our personal books and make check-out cards and check those books out.  I didn't realize that a lot of things went on at the library that I didn't see and that the circulation of materials was only one of the many activities.

Fast forward nearly twenty years and I'm in library school.  Fortunately, I had learned by that time that librarians didn't check out books all day (or even most of the time since library support staff usually did those job duties).  They didn't get to read all day either (more's the pity).  I decided I wanted to be an academic librarian, and help with research and choose books for the collections, and the wide variety of things we do that even I didn't know about until I got my first job. 

So what DO librarians do? 

First of all, they get a graduate degree, usually a Master of Library Science or its equivalent and it is considered the terminal degree in the profession.  There are many derivations, ranging from MLS, MS, MLIS, MIS... the list goes on.  There are also doctorates in the profession, though about the only people who get those want to teach in library school.

As for duties, they usually fall within one or more the following, at least within an academic library:
Bibliographic organization of knowledge
  • Use/explain the Library of Congress classification scheme/subject headings
  • Use of appropriate bibliographic utilities
  • Use of cataloging functions of the integrated library system
  • Know MaRC (Machine Readable Cataloging developed by the Library of Congress)
  • Perform copy/original cataloging
  • Use non-Library of Congress methods of organization when appropriate
  • Develop internal organizational methods for archives/special collections
  • Setup/maintenance of in-house indexing and its access
Collection development & management
  • Read thousands of reviews each year
  • Select appropriate sources for the collection
  • Make decisions on weeding/retention/replacement of collections
  • Evaluate/maintain/update organization of physical facility in relation to effective use of collections
  • Assess collection for usages and effectiveness for users
  • Assess collection for curriculum support
  • Write reports for library section of program reviews
  • Keep appropriate material order records
  • Find the best discounts on books and other material
Instruction & information services
  • Conduct effective reference interviews
  • Help users define information needs
  • Instruct users in basic research, skills-based training, search queries, etc.
  • Develop tools (guides, FAQs, etc) to provide guidance
  • Help users evaluate information found
  • Identify/locate information in all formats
  • Assist users in retrieving materials both locally and off-site
  • Interpret bibliographic record/citation formats
  • Assess instruction and reference to determine effectiveness
Supervision & management
  • Participate in recruiting, hiring, training, evaluating, promoting all library staff
  • Set clear performance expectations linked to library strategies/priorities
  • Assess those strategies/priorities
  • Demonstrate leadership in team environment
  • Develop realistic goals/measurable objectives for the library's current/future needs
  • Assess those goals/measurable objectives
  • Request/defend/follow budget for library activities
  • Develop and refine assessment methods for areas of primary librarianship duties
  • Write reports - lots and lots and lots of reports

At ETBU and in most other colleges and universities the librarians are considered faculty.  As a result, in addition to the above activities, there are duties that involve professional development  and scholarship, university participation and service, and Christian commitment and community service - just as other faculty on campus.
We may or may not teach a formal class, but we are teachers each time we assist a user in their research, show them how to write a citation in the APA (or Turabian, or CSE, or MLA), help a user form a great search query, or host an event that is informative and interesting (and hopefully fun).

Sounds a bit more complicated than what you thought?  You didn't realize there were so many things going on behind the scenes and at the forefront?  Don't worry, most people don't - and many of today's librarians didn't know at one time either.  

But yes, we do occasionally check out a book to you.

by Cynthia L. Peterson, MLS
Director of Library Services

Friday, August 21, 2015

All Me Duty to Ye!

Hej! Aloha! Dobar dan! Latha math! All me duty to ye!

You've just been greeted in five languages - Swedish, Hawaiian, Croatian, Scottish Gaelic, and Pirate.

Okay, Pirate isn't exactly a language, but you can still learn to speak like a Pirate and converse like a native in 70 other languages using the Mango Languages database.

Are you heading on a travel study trip next May? Perhaps you're searching your family history and found out some of your ancestors were from Greece or Finland, or perhaps Thailand. Whatever your reason for learning a language, this is the place to go.

Currently these languages are available (one caveat: some languages are less developed than others, mainly those that are new to the database - keep coming back to see what has been added):

American Sign Language - Arabic (Egyptian, Iraqi, Levantine, MSA) - Armenian - Azerbaijani - Bengali - Cherokee - Chinese (Mandarin) - Croatian - Czech - Danish - Dari - Dutch - Dzongkha - English - Farsi (Persian) - Finnish - French - French, Candian - German, Greek (Modern, Ancient, Koine) - Haitian Creole - Hawaiian - Hebrew (Modern, Biblical) - Hindi - Hungarian - Icelandic - Igbo - Indonesian - Irish - Italian - Japanese - Javanese - Kazakh - Korean - Latin - Malay - Malayalam - Norwegian - Pashto - Pirate - Polish - Portuguese (Brazilian) - Punjabi - Romanian - Russian - Scottish Gaelic - Serbian - Shakespeare English - Shangahinese - Slovak - Spanish (Latin America, Spain) - Swahili - Swedish - Tagalog - Tamil - Telugu - Thai - Turkish - Tuvan - Ukrainian - Urdu - Uzbek - Vietnamese - Yiddish.

To access Mango Languages go to the Library's home page at then click the link "Databases A to Z" and find the "M" tab, then find Mango Languages in the list.

The first time you do this you'll see both a log-in section or a registration link. If you haven't registered do so at this time, or if you have registered before just log in. Once logged in the system will keep up with what languages you are studying and which lesson you are working on. You may go back and revisit a lesson or portion of a lesson at any time, going on whenever you feel comfortable.

There are also mobile apps available for Android, Apple, Kindle (Fire), and Nook. Download the Mango app to any of these devices, log-in as you have registered yourself, then enjoy learning the language of your choice anywhere you want - Mango will continue to keep up with where you are and where you are going!

Spotlight on History...

Last year we added two history databases to our collections...U.S. History in Context and World History in Context.  Both are available through the GALE/Cengage Learning family of databases.

U.S. History in Context "puts the tools of the historian into the hands of students..."  It strives to
provide comprehensive coverage of the most-studied topics, from the arrival of Vikings in North America to Vietnam, Watergate, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  The database contains the expected journal articles, but also books, photographs, images, government documents, biographies, court cases, and streaming video.  Coverage includes African American Perspectives, American Colonies, the Supreme Court, Economics, Events, Decades, and Cultural Trends, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Political Constructs, Movements, and Organizations, and Wars & Conficts.

World History in Context helps the user "understand 5,000 years of civilization from a 21st-century framework.   It chronicles the rise and fall of cultures and societies across all continents and eras.  U.S. History in Context can also be found in this database, with broad subject coverage including international biography, countries, cultures and civilizations, economics, events, periods, and cultural trends, human rights, political constructs, movements and organizations, religions, as well as wars and conflicts.
Rare primary sources combine with reliable references to but content into context for every researcher.  Formats such as those found in the

Both databases are also aligned to state and national curriculum standards, making it a valuable resource for history and social science teachers at all grade levels.

What's New for 2015-2016... So Far

As usual there are some additions in databases and other resources as we begin the new academic year.

Graduate students and faculty will find the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses - Section A: Humanities & Social Sciences helpful in their research, but upper level undergraduates  may also find it useful, particularly those working on Honors Papers.  It contains indexes and abstracts to master's theses and doctoral dissertations from around the country.  Anyone in the ETBU graduate programs who produces a thesis as part of their degree requirements can have their thesis added.  Anything found in PQDTA that was produced by student's in our master's programs is accessible in full text.  Dissertations and abstracts from outside our campus may be purchased for a fee.  The library will underwrite those fees (up to a certain point) for graduate students and faculty.

Newly acquired at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year was the Nursing Collection of Films on Demand.  The library already had access to the Academic Collection.  With these collections as well as smaller video collections found in other aggregate databases, the library now can access the equivalent of over 25,000 DVDs through the streaming video format.

We have added two more Naxos products.  The first was added in the late spring and it is the Naxos Spoken Word Audio Library, which contains a large collection of streaming audio devoted to literature, history, business, and many more disciplines, with new recordings being added monthly.  During the summer we also added the Naxos Works Database which is not a streaming audio collection, but instead information on specific works by major composers - such as when the work was composed, the first performance - even the artists who were involved in the first performances when that information is available.  This information can be very helpful in developing programs for concerts, recitals, and much more.

Although it's not new, you'll see a new look when you use TigerCat this year.  A recent upgrade also gave our online catalog a fresh, clean look.  We think you'll like it!